Don’t Do Work Just for the Sake of Doing Work

Have you ever had a day where you felt as if you were getting work done but you really weren’t? The reason for this post today is because I think there are many people who are concerned with how to manage time in a way that makes them feel satisfied with ending the day with what they have done.

There are a lot of people who like to spend their time interacting with people in forums, tweeting on Tweeter, volleying emails back and forth, and reading or commenting on different blogs. Many experts like Gary Vaynerchuk say this is vital to growing a business and we should spend hours and hours doing this. But what happens when we spend most of our time searching for different threads to comment or reading material that ends up taking more time than usually. Hours may have passed by without us even realizing it. Here are some quick things I thought of and I think will help you out.

Priorities First

Do you ever get those days where you not in a state of flow, so you start making up things to do and pretend that you are working? I get these from time to time because I hate the feeling of having 2 hours pass by without me really “activity doing anything”. So sometimes I will spend my time in forums or reading blogs then lead to another subject, and before I know it, 2 hours will have really gone by and I haven’t really done anything productive. I’ve learned that there is a difference between being productive and being active.

Being active can mean just doing something but it doesn’t really mean that you are producing results. Don’t fall in the trap of trying to make up tasks in order to avoid the tasks that really matter. Before you go to sleep, write down what is the most important things you need to get done tomorrow. If you’re not sure what they are, usually the answer to this question will help you figure them out. If you have only 2 hours to work on something tomorrow, what would they be?

Psychological Tips

Everybody works better under different conditions. Some people focus better at night when everybody is sleeping. Other people work better in the day. For me, I have always found it more difficult to produce content during the day. There’s something about the day that represents time moving faster causing me to rush my mind. When it’s a cloudy day for me, the atmosphere is depressing and time moves slowly. I know these are psychological things that only pertain to me.

I usually feel more alert and focused when I look out the window and it’s completely dark (only the lamp next to me is the lighting the room). To me, this silence feels as if time has stopped. I don’t feel so much in a rush and can produce better content around midnight. So figure out when is the best atmosphere works for you and work on it. You might have to adjust your sleeping schedule, but doing so may help you become more productive in the long run.

Unclutter

Unclutter everything (including your workspace on your desk!). Recently I realized that there were too many icons on my desktop (about 20 to 30) and half of them were ebooks or documents I never even read. So I put all unnecessary icons in a folder. I’m now left with 6 icons that include my main file folder, my broswers, and something to write on (I switch between MS Word and DarkRoom).

As for my inbox, about 50% of the mail happened to be old mail, so I just delete some and put the rest in “past mail”. The desktop and inbox looked a lot cleaner now. Finally, I realized that I needed to unclutter my room. I rearranged the room to make as much clear space possible and for the last 2 days, donated my old clothes (1/4 of my closet is clothes) to the salvation army. It felt good getting rid of that for a good cause.

These were just some productivity tips in my mind today that I thought I’d toss around with you guys. I know everyone is different and works best in different atmosphere. I may need it to be pin-drop quiet, but I know a guy who works the best when reruns of King of the Hill are playing in his background. But back to the main point: don’t do work just for the sake of doing work. Make sure you get the most out of your day by being productive!

What about you? Do you work best in sunny, cloudy, dark, or light conditions? Do you have any personal ways of working productively that you want to also share?